Top outing tips from Mattias

Mattias Johansson is facing the camera, with the ocean in the background.

Mattias Johansson spends a lot of time in nature. This picture, including the other photos in the article, is taken by Mattias himself.

Are you among those who spend as much time as possible outdoors? Happy to plan an outing when you have time off? Below are a few tips from Mattias Johansson, who grew up on the west coast, but has lived in Kalmar since the mid-90s.

He is a father of three, two boys and a girl, and has a job he really likes. Mattias is a photographer, both at Maddoc Photography and at the Kalmar County region. When he gets a moment of spare time, he loves to head out for some natural scenery.

– If it’s just me, I go fishing, I go biking through the forest over the roots and rocks, I go for a run along the woodland paths, or I just sit by the water somewhere. If the kids are with me, we often go somewhere outdoors. We bring some food or snacks and head for the woods, or the sea, or some exciting heritage site, he says.

Fishing gear by the ocean.

Did you always spend a lot of time outdoors?

– Yeah, I grew up in Varberg, where the surrounding nature is just so amazingly diverse, with the sea, the islands, the beechwood and pine forests, meadows and fields. My parents also enjoyed the outdoors, and in the summer we always spent time out on the islands. When I was about 12 years old, I got into game fishing, and after that I just spent all of my free time next to the water – sea, lake, or stream.

What’s the best thing about being in nature?

– It is the calm that enters your mind and body. There is always a chance to rest and recover – and if you want it, there is always adventure to be found. Nature is an inexhaustible source of play and creativity, it has everything.

Which are your favourite nature and leisure areas around Kalmar?

– Horsö, Värsnäs, and Stensö. And if I look at the whole county, I very much like the Alvar, on Öland. The Nunnedalen valley in springtime is just… beyond beautiful. Another favourite of mine is the Aboda Klint in Högsby. The surrounding nature is splendid, and there’s a restaurant that’s located in a really lovely spot.

The front of a kayak in front of Kalmar castle. A rainbow and a bird can be seen in the sky.

What is your favourite thing to do outdoors?

– Fishing, mountainbiking or “hiking” with the children. I guess it depends on the time of year. In the winter we mostly just head out into the woods. The kids get bundled up warm, and we bring the spirit stove and a backpack with something to eat. We might practice things like lighting a fire using a strike-a-light, climbing trees to escape boars, or following animal tracks in the snow. And we make pine needle tea.

– When the spring sun comes, we tend to head for open fields a bit more, to hear the larks. We visit the heritage sites and look for spring flowers. My daughter generally starts swimming in the sea when the snowdrops bloom, so we might visit the beach a couple of times in early spring. I’m not a fan of February swimming myself, though.

– In the summers, of course there’s a lot of sea, beach, islands, maybe a bit of canoeing, fishing, cycling, and outings. Just to be outdoors and bring something nice to eat. A bottle of wine and a blanket by the water is an essential part of summer, I feel.

– Autumn is another amazing time, both by the sea and in the woods. We go mushroom picking then, and there are some really good opportunities for fishing pike. When I had a boat, I enjoyed spending time out to sea well into November. You know those bright, calm days with a blazing blue sky.

Two legs resting on the edge of a cliff. The ocean and a parked bicycle can be seen in the background.

Which are the best cycling spots in Kalmar?

– In town I’d have to say Värsnäs, even if some paths are gone by now, because of the new houses being built. There’s another little trail in the forest between Snurrom and Värsnäs, which is great fun. Other than that, there’s Svartbäcksmåla and preferably Långehäll, with a great deal of challenges. There’s both muscle-burn trails and some really technical difficulties. Tricky drops, and logs that require a lot of balancing.

And when going for a run?

– Värsnäs, Horsö, and the Björkenäs bay. There’s some amazing forest trails there, with roe deer and lots of birdlife.

And if you want to go fishing instead?

– For pike and perch I like Drag, as well as Rafshagen, but Värsnäs is good too. For sea trout I mostly prefer Öland. If the fish won’t bite, you might often see some white-tailed eagles, or seals, so there’s always some form of reward.

And if you want to take a walk or go hiking?

– I do a lot of walking from where I live, in Ljusstaden – City of Light – out towards Värsnäs and Horsö, and further out toward Stävlö. Those are some really nice areas. If you want more of a hike there is the Torsjö trail outside Påryd, which is a fun and complicated bike trail, too. There’s billions of rocks of all sizes, erratics, logs, and roots. As a reward, you can rest on the rocks by a nice lake.

– The Lövö Nature reserve in Mönsterås is another beautiful place to walk around. And the Alvar of course, that’s a real gem that we’ve got nearby. It’s easily accessible and suits everyone, regardless of what shape you are in.

A siluette of two children standing by the shoreline in the sunset.

How do you prefer to spend a day outdoors with your family?

– When the kids and I are going on an adventure, we follow their mood for the day. If they have the energy and are up for it, we might bring a spirit stove, a tent, food, and sleeping bags, and head over to Öland. If we are a bit out of sorts and have less time, we just bring a bag with a little something to eat, and maybe some spare clothes, and go to the nearby forest or some of the local nature reserves.

Are there any other hidden gems you would like to tip us off about?

– If you have access to a boat, I say the Stora Tornskär island in Västra Sjön is a really cosy place. It’s child-friendly too, with a jetty for bathing, and toilets, some good windbreaks, and lovely glades.

– At Ingelstorp outside Smedby is an amazingly beautiful forest where you can find all sorts of adventures.

– Kanaberg outside Påryd is another exciting and convenient place for an outing. It is a jumble of enormous rocks and some caves, and was once the hiding place of rebel leader Nils Dacke, according to legend. This is a real treat for the whole family, but you need to be careful and mind any eager children.

What is the best thing about Kalmar?

– The best thing about Kalmar must be the city itself, after all. It is such a beautiful place, in all its historical splendour. It has been wonderfully preserved, with a cosy city centre and some good retail parks nearby. There’s just about everything you need here… except a real ocean, if you ask me as a west coast guy, says Mattias and laughs.

Nature is an inexhaustible source of play and creativity, it has everything.

Mattias Johansson

Five picnic spot tips from Mattias

  1. Stensö
  2. Skälby
  3. Kalmarsundsparken
  4. Värsnäs
  5. Horsö

And five lovely downtown locations

  1. Kalmar guest harbour
  2. Kalmar castle
  3. The city park
  4. The area around the Kattrumpan bath
  5. The fishing village Stensö Fiskeläge
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Page published by: Destination Kalmar